Reps in the News: Lasee Buys Stock in Marijuana-Based Products

Senator Frank Lasee

According to public disclosures, Sen. Lasee of De Pere in 2016 bought $5,000 to $50,000 in the stock of Ontario-based Canopy Growth Corp. The company sells marijuana-based products in dried, oil and capsule forms, and touts operating more than half a million square feet of production facilities. Canopy Growth says rapper Snoop Dogg is a business partner. Lasee disclosed his stock in May as part of annual financial reports covering the preceding year when he wrote simply “TWMJF,” which is Canopy Growth’s ticker symbol for out-of-Canada stock trading. The company’s stock is traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange as “WEED.” Canopy Growth made headlines in July 2016 as the first marijuana producer to be publicly traded on a major North American stock exchange.

Sen. Jon Erpenbach, a Democrat who has repeatedly introduced legislation that would legalize medical marijuana, said Lasee has never approached him on the issue or signed on to his bills. He called Lasee’s investment “frustrating” and panned the senator for attempting to profit from an industry that Republicans have opposed.

“If it’s a good enough investment for Frank, then it’s good enough for people who benefit from it medically,” Erpenbach said.

In February, Lasee joined 30 other senators in voting to allow the possession of medical cannabinoid oil, or CBD oil. Supporters of the oil argue it can help children who suffer from seizures.

Lasee voted against an amendment proposed by Democrats to allow the production of CBD oil in the state. The amendment failed along party lines.

Lasee didn’t speak on the Senate floor in February about his votes or his broader views of marijuana. Lasee’s votes could present a conflict of interest because Canopy Growth produces CBD oil. But the company doesn’t currently operate in Wisconsin or anywhere else in the United States because of federal drug prohibitions.

Jay Heck, executive director of Common Cause in Wisconsin, a group that advocates for clean government, said he didn’t see a conflict of interest with Lasee voting for CBD oil while he owned stock in Canopy Growth. But he said Lasee should explain the vote.

Source:  USA Today Network-Wisconsin


Governor Scott Walker

Gov. Walker requested the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) declare Kenosha, Racine, and Walworth Counties a disaster area due to damage caused by widespread flooding in July 2017. An SBA disaster declaration would provide low-interest loans to eligible individuals and businesses affected by the floods.

“The July floods caused damage to many homes and businesses in southeast Wisconsin and that’s why we’re reaching out to SBA for assistance,” Walker said. “We’re going to do all we can to help the families and business owners who were affected, and I thank everyone who was involved in the response and recovery efforts.”

More than eight inches of rain fell in southeast Wisconsin on July 11, 2017 causing flash floods. This request also includes the contiguous counties of Jefferson, Milwaukee, Rock, and Waukesha.

Source:  Walker press release


Senator Tammy Baldwin

Sen. Baldwin announced new legislation to boost workforce readiness by expanding apprenticeship programs and investing in public-private partnerships, and unveiled the PARTNERS (Pairing Apprenticeships with Regional Training Networks to meet Employer Requirements) Act following a visit to Mid-State Technical College in Wisconsin Rapids. “In Wisconsin, I’ve seen how public-private partnerships can best address the workforce readiness challenges we face,” Baldwin said. “This new legislation will scale up our apprenticeship programs and provide more people with the skills they need to succeed. If we invest in public-private partnerships, we can boost workforce readiness and provide our businesses the skilled workers they need to grow our economy.”

Businesses – especially small and medium-sized businesses – often lack the infrastructure to establish apprenticeships or work-based learning programs on their own. Baldwin’s legislation would address this challenge by establishing a program to provide states with grants that will help create or expand local public-private partnership apprenticeship initiatives.

Source:  Baldwin press release


Senator Ron Johnson

Sen. Johnson last week walked back controversial remarks he made about Sen. John McCain earlier in the week when he suggested McCain’s dissenting vote on health care might have been influenced by his recent brain cancer surgery. Speaking on CNN’s “New Day,” Johnson, explained that he was “just expressing sympathy,” and that McCain was “not impaired in any way, shape or form” when he cast his crucial “no” vote on health care reform late last month.

Johnson had suggested in a radio interview that McCain’s brain tumor and the early morning hours may have affected his vote on the Senate bill to repeal Obamacare.

In response, McCain spokeswoman Julie Tarallo said in a statement to CNN:  “It is bizarre and deeply unfortunate that Senator Johnson would question the judgment of a colleague and friend. Senator McCain has been very open and clear about the reasons for his vote.”

Johnson began distancing himself from the comments on Wednesday, saying he was “disappointed I didn’t more eloquently express my sympathy for what Sen. McCain is going through.”

Source:  CNN


President Donald Trump

President Trump on Tuesday ripped three top corporate chief executives who resigned from his manufacturing council in protest of his handling of the Charlottesville, Va., violence, calling them “grandstanders.” Trump’s missive came shortly before another member of the council, Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing trade group, announced that he was stepping down as well. Trump said on Twitter that “for every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place.” He then said that “grandstanders should not have gone on” the council, which Trump formed shortly after taking office in January. Kenneth Frazier, chief executive of Merck & Co., publicly announced Monday that he was stepping down from the council because he felt “a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.” Trump lashed out at Frazier on Twitter, criticizing Merck for what he said were its high drug prices.

Kevin Plank, chief executive of Under Armour Inc., and Brian Krzanich, chief executive of Intel Corp., issued statements Monday night that they were stepping down as well. Then on Tuesday, Paul said he was joining them. “I’m resigning from the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative because it’s the right thing for me to do,” he tweeted.

Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, who was a top economic adviser to President Barack Obama, said all the CEOs on the advisory council should resign.

“No adviser committed to the bipartisan American traditions of government can possibly believe he or she is being effective at this point,” Summers wrote in a column in The Washington Post. “And all should feel ashamed for complicity in Mr. Trump’s words and deeds. I sometimes wonder how they face their children.”

Source:  Los Angeles Times

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